Mike Mularkey didn't expect this.
Even with a slew of injuries on offense and defense, and even playing a Super Bowl contender, no one else around the Jaguars did, either.
The Jaguars, a week after an opening-game overtime loss at Minnesota, managed just 117 total yards on offense on Sunday, losing an AFC South game to division favorite Houston, 27-7, in front of an announced 62,907 in the regular-season home opener at EverBank Field.
"Obviously, not the way we wanted to start the season out at home," Mularkey, in his first season as the Jaguars' head coach, said after the Texans outgained the Jaguars by nearly 300 yards in a game Houston dominated from the start.
"That was not a good showing from the start to the end. We never gave ourselves a chance to be in the ballgame."
The Texans outgained the Jaguars 411-117, with the Jaguars' total yardage the lowest in the franchise's 18-year history.
"It's on us – it's on the players," Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said. "We just have to continue to work through those things. We have to do better."
On a day in which the Jaguars entered the game with a slew of significant players out with injuries, Jones-Drew – the NFL's leading rusher a year ago – rushed for 60 yards on 12 carries, but aside from an early third-quarter Jaguars flurry, the Texans controlled the game.
Jaguars starting right offensive tackle Cameron Bradfield (ankle) missed the game, as did starting left guard Eben Britton (ankle), starting linebacker Daryl Smith (groin), starting cornerback Derek Cox (hamstring) and backup running back Rashad Jennings (knee), who started Week 1 in place of Jones-Drew.
Houston took a 10-0 lead after a quarter, and after outgaining the Jaguars 242-43 in the first half, the Texans led 17-0 at halftime. Blaine Gabbert, the Jaguars' second-year quarterback, struggled throughout, completing 7 of 19 passes for 53 yards, including 4 of 11 passes for 13 yards in the first half.
"It's a group effort," Gabbert said. "We have to make plays. We didn't do that today."
The Jaguars failed to convert any of their nine third-down conversions.
"That's awful," Gabbert said. "That falls on my shoulders."
Gabbert left the game in the second half with a leg injury and did not return. Mularkey said Gabbert had dealt with the issue since the first half. Gabbert declined to discuss the injury, and said he was uncertain of his status for Sunday's game at Indianapolis.
"I'm going to do my best to be out there," he said.
The Jaguars cut into the halftime deficit with a 37-yard, two-play drive on which Gabbert passed 32 yards to wide receiver Laurent Robinson and five yards to Jones-Drew for a touchdown.
The Jaguars appeared to force a punt on the ensuing series, but an offside penalty on rookie defensive end Andre Branch enabled the Texans to convert a third down en route to a game-clinching, 17-play, 80-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown run by Ben Tate.
Arian Foster rushed for 110 yards on 28 carries for the Texans, who finished with 216 yards and three touchdowns rushing on 48 carries.
"We have some things to clean up," Mularkey said. "The good thing us we have a lot of football still to play. I told them, 'Maybe we need to take a good punch and see how we respond.' I think I know how they'll respond. They're disappointed, but there's lot of football to play."